The Trade in Human Organs: Return of the Bodysnatchers

The  trade in human organs has given rise to many myths. We should look to its history, argues Richard Sugg, if we are to comprehend its reality.

In December 2010 Paul Lewis reported in the Guardian that a court in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, heard of how ‘desperate Russians, Moldovans, Kazakhs and Turks were lured into the capital “with the false promise of payments” for their kidneys’. It was also alleged that in 1999 a criminal gang was ‘removing kidneys from murder victims’. The human rights activist Dick Marty claimed that, ‘after medical checks and blood tests’, a handful of Serbian captives ‘were moved to a farmhouse in Fushë-Krujë, a town north of the Albanian capital, Tirana. His report adds: ‘The testimonies on which we based our findings spoke credibly and consistently of a methodology by which all of the captives were killed, usually by a gunshot to the head, before being operated on to remove one or more of their organs.’

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